The Promise Fulfilled

MEMORY SELECTION: “Mine eyes have seen Thy salvation, which Thou hast prepared before the face of all people.” —Luke 2:30,31


CONTINUING our study of Luke’s account of the birth of Jesus, it is shown that Mary and Joseph were careful to follow the customs of the Jewish law. After eight days our Lord was circumcised and given the name of Jesus. Then he was taken to Jerusalem, where he was presented to God, the custom being that an animal be sacrificed to redeem the first male child born to an Israelite woman. The “firstborn” belonged to God as recorded, “Sanctify unto me all the firstborn, whatsoever openeth the womb among the children of Israel, both of man and of beast: it is mine.”—Exod. 13:2

While at the temple, Mary and Joseph met first Simeon and then later Anna, the prophetess. Simeon was an elderly man who frequented the temple, and it was said of him that he was “just and devout” and that the “holy spirit was upon him.” (Luke 2:25) Anna was a widowed woman of advanced years, who “departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.” (vs. 37) Simeon had been watching for the arrival of the Messiah, “the consolation of Israel.” (vs. 25) Anna “looked for redemption in Jerusalem” (Israel, marginal translation, vs. 38). Both were devoted to God’s purposes to the best of their ability; both were given to a deep sense of worship and praise of God, and both were waiting for a manifestation of God’s will in behalf of the children of Israel.

Simeon and Anna had spent a lifetime watching and waiting for Messiah. They had done this in praying and fasting, searching the Scriptures, and in keeping the customs and services of the temple. They were, therefore, ready and waiting when Messiah arrived; and, through the Holy Spirit, they recognized the newborn infant as the One sent from God.

Simeon burst forth in instant praise when he recognized that God’s promise of a Messiah was fulfilled, saying, “Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: for mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.”—vss. 29-32

Simeon’s search for the Messiah had been richly blessed, and yet his praise pointed to the future, when the blessings associated with the birth of Jesus would be available for the whole world for mankind—both Jew and Gentile. And then, as if in prophetic vision, “Simeon blessed them [Mary and Joseph], and said unto Mary his [Jesus’] mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against; (yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”—vss. 34,35

Anna too, “coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.” (vs. 38) She was a faithful and pious woman, who boldly proclaimed the long-awaited Messiah.

The fullness of time had come, and by the providences of God conditions had been made ready for the world’s Redeemer. The medium of communication for the New Testament, the Greek language, had been fully developed and prepared; the Old Testament had been translated into Greek and studied widely by scholars; and the Jews had borne witness to the coming event and the prophecies associated with the coming Messiah. However, the announcement of the Savior’s birth was not made to the worldly-wise, nor even to an assembled nation of Israelites, who were the chosen people of God. Instead, it was made to a few humble hearts like Simeon and Anna, and the shepherds who had been looking for the special event as a manifestation of the providences of God.

Those good tidings of great joy which will, in due time, be offered to the whole world of mankind, include the work of redemption and the restitution of all things. Everlasting life will be available to all who strive to conform themselves to the laws of truth and righteousness which will be in operation at that time. During that future thousand-year period even those who sleep in death will be brought forth and given an opportunity to come up the highway of holiness, which will be the way of the kingdom.

Dawn Bible Students Association
|  Home Page  |  Table of Contents  |